(One of the hundreds of floats exhibited on the road)
Chak Phra Festival to Its Biggest
Chak Phra Festival is a celebration of the Buddhist all over Southern Thailand (Patthalung also have Phon Lak Phra Festival which is similar) with Surat Thani City with the largest celebration for it. The festival’s origin was about when Buddha came back to earth coming from heaven greeted and welcomed by the people . The festival were made beautiful by the crafty floats decorated with locals’ creativity, lighting, and other props.
(This is what the road looks like)
Fun Festival Floats
Floats from different Buddhist temples from nearby towns are exhibited at the beginning of Tapi River. There you will see creative exhibits of the story about Buddha and the beginning of this festival and I must say, it is amazing! They also had several bowls hanging on both sides for alms, white strings are hanging on every bowl which locals get one every baht they put in. The strings are the ‘lucky bracelets’ I call them, those items were blessed by Buddhist monks to protect the wearer from harm and evil. Also, by the moment you stand on the side where a blessing monk is nearby, he’d whip his bamboo sticks in the air that was dipped in some sort of their holy water towards you. It means protection from any harm, evil, and even symbolizes a cloak of love and health your way.
(This is one of the Buddha story exhibit displayed at the road side)
The walking street all the way to the Tapi river were flea market stores, kiosks, and some entertainments here and there are were set up. It was really an awesome celebration. Stage was even set up floating on the river dock and televised throughout the country. Locals in their different Thai costumes perform simultaneously non-stop. Thais celebrates it for a week, they have float racing and other games they can think of, and fireworks every night too.
(Floating stage with cute Thai girls dancing)
At night, performances on the stage continues while the flea and food markets gets crazier and crazier, shoppers goes gaga over cheap buys there. The exhibits look beautiful on their colorful creative paints, murals, and music as well as the highlight I guess (well, for me) were the colorful floats still floating through the river, one after the other. It’s like Christmas back home but in a Buddhist form, I said that because there were also Christmas trees! The jolly locals were enjoying it and so were the tourists around.
(Parade on floats)
Just More Than An Hour Glimpse
I heard that earlier that day was a big parade around the city center, and because I was in Phuket, I only get to enjoy the last night. Tired from the trip, no dinner yet, I couldn’t help but ask my fiance to stay in the area for a bit when he picked me up from the bus station. Explored and took all the photos, for past an hour, I have seen the highlights and captured them on my camera. Exhausted from the whole day of traveling and walking back and forth the Chak Phra Festival’s area, it took me only more than an hour to finally take my energy to its rest. I did enjoy the celebration that we thought I would totally miss!